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“What’s Right with the Rorschach?”- A response to the article

Posted on: enero 19, 2014

As a response to your article, “What’s Right with the Rorschach?” I would like to clarify facts and aspects in regards to the Rorschach test.

Rorschach, Choca J. and American Psychological Association (APA)

This institution has published a work about Rorschach by James Choca. According to Choca, J. (2013), the Rorschach test is not an instrument that lacks either attention or research. Choca also clarifies that this instrument has drawn some criticism and takes it under consideration, concluding that “part of the criticism that the Rorschach test has faced is not fair, and part of the problem is related to the fact that these critiques have been chiefly formulated by psychologists that are unknown in the field of clinical diagnosis.”

Cognitive functioning

According to Choca, J. (2013), the most outstanding strength of the Rorschach test is its capacity to reveal difficulties related to the thinking process, which allows us to understand the limitations that the individual faces when adjusting and coping to different everyday situations.

As you expressed, while it is true that during a psychological interview an experienced psychologist is able to specify whether the patient´s thinking is disturbed, it is the Rorschach test the most useful and suitable instrument to detect how severe it is, the meaning of the particular form of disturbance, the frequency of slippage in the thinking process, the conditions under which the patient´s thinking is disrupted by extraneous intrusions, and how the patient reacts to these slippages in language or reasoning according to Kleiger (1999) and Choca, J. (2013). In essence, a thought disorder detected in a patient should not be viewed as the endpoint of a search, but as an aid in understanding the puzzle of the personality with significant prognostic implications, (Kleiger 1999).

Interpretation

You mentioned that patients who report imagery involving animals or humans in movement receive higher scores on Khoper’s s have somewhat better outcomes in psychotherapy.

It is important to keep in mind that interpretations derived from content, typically are rooted in theory, as Lerner, P. (1968) pointed out. Furthermore, when dealing with the Rorschach test we must take into account that an only variable or an only formula does not mean absolutely anything. Both a horizontal reading and a vertical reading are carried out. Those readings take into account an extensive array of variables in order to reach a conclusion, pointed out by Sendín Bande, M. (2007).  Thus, for example, if an individual has 3 M (M: Human Movement), but two of the M are Mo (o: Ordinary Form Quality), and one of the M is M-(-: Minus Form Quality) as well as the 3 M have the (Hd), (Fictional Partial Movement), and, in turn, one the M- goes with the FACAMB code (Fabulized Combinations), this person is unlikely to be interested in receiving or being influenced by treatment, because these conditions belong to the Hypervigilance Index (HVI) according to  Weiner, I. (2003).

Finally, information generated from the analysis of Rorschach diverse materials has to be necessarily integrated with information coming from other news sources to achieve the highest degree of certainty in the conclusions. (Passalacqua, A. 2006)

Forensic Psychology

There is a common agreement among scientists that states that an instrument used for psychological diagnosis can also be used in any field as long as there are researchers that support and guarantee its usage. About support, Choca J. (2013) maintains that the Rorschach test has done reasonably well detecting and characterizing those sexual predators that break the laws.

Moreover we cannot forget that any instrument used for psychological measure needs to meet the criterion of the individual’s impossibility to manipulate information consciously given, according to Lerner, P. (1998), and the Rorschach test, without a doubt whatsoever, meets this criterion. Thus, the Spanish researcher Sendín Brande, M. C. (2007) maintains that “the peculiarity of the Rorschach test’s stimuli, the wealth of information that this test generates, the near impossibility of being manipulated, as well as the possibility to integrate quantitative and qualitative data are some of the characteristics that this instrument offers and, therefore, these probably become the main reasons why many studies devoted to improve its efficiency are being carried out”.

Finally, according to Ganellan R. (1994, 1996); Ganellan, R. J., Wasyliw, O. E., Haywood, and further contributors (1996), and Gacono, C., Evans, B., & Viglione, D (2002) the Rorschach test gains importance as well as a significant value when an individual tries not to report or exaggerate their psychopathology or pretend to be affected by something that they do not actually suffer in order to forget about their duties. Due to the fact that in the field of forensics it is common for the individual to falsify the facts, the Rorschach test provides valuable and thorough information.

In conclusion, as Gacono, C., Evans, B., & Viglione, D (2002) emphasized, skilled and disciplined clinical psychologists that use the Rorschach test are able to make significant contributions to the resolution of legal issues where the defendant’s state of mind is in question.

 

Psychotherapy

You mentioned that the Rorschach has considerable value as an adjunct technique in psychotherapy, approaching the patient’s responses to the blots analogously to dream interpretation. Maybe you forget that its creator, Hermann Rorschach (1921), expressed:The Rorschach test cannot be used as a means of delving into the unconscious. At best, there are other more profound psychological examination methods such as dream interpretation and association experiments that can be used for this purpose.”

Finally, I would like to close this letter with the following statement: “The psychologist is always either the expert or the inept, but not the diagnostic method or the theory that is used” according to Helsenroth, M. J. & Stricker (2004).

Ana Cristina Evans Burgess

 

Bibliography

Choca, James C. (2013). The Rorschach Inkblot Test. An Interpretative guide for clinicians. Washington DC. American Psychological Association.

Helsenroth, M. J. & Stricker. (2004). A consideration to psychological assessment instruments in forensic settings: Rorschach as exemplar. Journal of Personality Assessment 83,141-152.

Gacono, C., Evans, B., & Viglione, D. (2002). The Rorschach in forensic practice. Journal of Forensic Psychological Practice, 2(3), 33–52.

Ganellan, R. J. (1994). Attempting to conceal psychological disturbance: MMPI defensive response sets and the Rorschach. Journal of Personality Assessment, 63, 423–437.

Ganellan, R. J. (1996). Exploring MMPI–Rorschach relationships. Journal of Personality Assessment, 67, 529–542.

Ganellan, R. J., Wasyliw, O. E., Haywood, T. W., & Grossman, L. S. (1996). Can psychosis be malingered on the Rorschach? An empirical study. Journal of Personality Assessment, 66, 65–80.

Kleiger James H. (1999). Disordered thinking and the Rorschach: Theory, research, and differential diagnosis .USA: Analytic Press.

Lerner, Paul. (1998). Psychoanalytic Perspectives on the Rorschach. New Jersey: The Analytic Press.

Rorschach, H. (1921). Psicodiagnóstico. Buenos Aires, Paydos.

Sendín Bande, María Concepción. (2007). Manual de codificación del Rorschach para el Sistema Comprehensivo. Tercera Edición Revisada. Madrid: Psimática.

Weiner, Irving B. (2003). Principles of Rorschach interpretation. Second Edition. New York: Taylor / Francis Group, LLC.

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